Bird Box Opening at BBRP

Tom discusses strategy

Tom & Don discuss strategy

Eight Delta Nats spent a glorious Thursday morning “opening and cleaning” the 28 bird nesting boxes at Boundary Bay Regional Park.  Bird Box Guru Don Farquhar dropped by at 9:30 a.m. at our 12th Street parking lot meeting place to give us a “revised” map.  We split into two groups: Roger, Ken, Alan and Donna did the boxes closest to the parking lot; Terry, Gerhard, Jean and I did the ones at the other side, near the Lookout.

Of course there was continuous boring chatter, but we did see some neat birds too.  A beautiful pair of Hooded Mergansers was in the stream right at the park entrance.  Lots of Green-winged Teal around, and Brant Geese too.  Tall Rick dropped by and gave his spiel to Group One on the different “races” of Brants here.  He also saw a Eurasian or Common Teal among the GWT’s.  There were lots of Sanderling, Dunlin and Yellowlegs (both Greater and Lesser) foraging along the shore.

Ken opens a box...

All boxes were opened and cleaned; nests and debris were removed from several boxes.  One nest had a complete egg shell on it, but Terry lost it scrambling through the briars.  Two rats were in one of Group One’s boxes, and one jumped on Roger after he opened the box!

Rats in the Box

If we stay really still, maybe Roger won't see us

We almost lost petit Jean when she sank into 4 feet of water, but we saved her.  Fun stuff, eh?  The nests removed were different, but we were not able to identify bird species (Swallows, Sparrows, other?) using the boxes. Generally, the boxes were in good condition; Willi did a great job “repairing” many last Spring.  Two boxes were removed for Terry and/or Geoff to repair and put back up this Spring.  Terry, Donna and Jean have offered to combine the information we collected this morning to create a comprehensive list of the status of each Box, and revise the map with exact location of each box.

Richard explains differences between Brant races

We retired to Geoff and Jean’s home for coffee and cookies.  While Geoff was spilling coffee all over the counter, I opened and cleaned one of Don’s boxes in the marsh in their back yard.  Awesome morning!  We will schedule a morning in March(?) to “close” the boxes before the migrants arrive.  Roger/Donna and Ken took photos and hopefully they will add them to this report that I will put on our Blog at: https://dncb.wordpress.com/.  

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society

Update January 16, 2012

After speaking with Anne Murray today, I learned that the Tree Swallows start returning to BC and BBRP during the first week of March.  Therefore, we/Delta Nats will need to “close” the boxes in late February.   So, on Thursday, February 23, similar to the “box opening” we did last Thursday, volunteers will meet at 9:30 a.m. at the 12th Street parking lot.  Bring gloves, boots, Robertson screw driver, small ladder, machete, mask, etc.  It should take two hours or less.  Terry will bring the two boxes that needed repairs.  I will have a “revised map”.  It will be fun.

The next day (Feb. 24) we will be doing a Beach Grove Bird Outing with the Langley and WRSN clubs.  Tom.

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About dncb

DNS: Delta Naturalists are a group of nature lovers whose aim is to foster interest in the natural history of the Fraser delta by sharing and enjoying nature and promoting environmental awareness and conservation. DNCB: Delta Nats Casual Birders is a group of Casual Birders who go Birding at different locations each week, usually within the Lower Mainland or in nearby Washington State.
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